top of page



In 2022, The Penny Hardaway Memphis District Golf Classic launched the Deacon R.B. Cole Scholarship to award one extraordinary student with funds to continue his college education. In 2023, this prestigious scholarship has been expanded to award $5,000 to two deserving students. The Memphis District Association is proud to honor Layman Deacon R.B. Cole and carry on his legacy of assisting others in this way.  We invite any student who qualifies to apply. 

About Deacon R. B. Cole

Deacon R.B. Cole of Progressive Missionary Baptist Church is the Ultimate Layman. A humble man of faith, his servant's heart has inspired, assisted, and touched many. Deacon Cole held the position of Chairman of the Deacon Ministry for more than 60 years and was instrumental in training more than 50 deacons, personally taking them to visitations in homes, hospitals, and other venues where spiritual guidance is needed and showing them how to effectively speak into the hearts and lives of God's people. He taught the O.C. Collins Jewels Sunday School Class for over 60 years and served as Director of the Baptist Training Union for 50 years with near-perfect attendance. He was also an avid promoter and supporter of pastors and other laymen to ensure they had what they needed to lead and help others. 


His commitment to building Christian workers was strong, but so was his dedication to fighting for workers' rights in his professional life. Deacon Cole served as a union steward at UNARCO Industries. He was respected and applauded for his involvement and sensitivity when speaking on behalf of the workers in the Diamond Plating division. The pinnacle of his career was when he was elected President of the United Steelworkers Union-Local 7111, where he served until his retirement.


Deacon Cole not only gave of his time but of his finances…helping those in need however he could, including providing funds to worthy college students. Deacon Cole is currently facing health concerns and is no longer active. In honor of this great man, the Penny Hardaway Memphis District Golf Classic will continue his good works with the Deacon R.B. Cole Scholarship.




  1. The applicant or their parent(s) or guardian must be a member of a participating church of the Memphis District Association. Click here to determine if your church is a member. 

  2. Applicant must attend high school or a two-year college, four-year college, or trade school.

  3. If in high school, the applicant must be a graduating high school senior in the year of the award.

  4. Applicant must have at least a 3.0 grade point average. 

  5. Applicant must demonstrate leadership, community involvement, academic aptitude, and a desire to attend college.

  6. Applicant must also write a one (1) page essay. 

  7. Applicant must present a letter of recommendation from the pastor of the Memphis District Association Church they and/or their parent(s)/guardian(s) attend. 

  8. Applicant must be willing to participate in future activities with the Penny Hardaway Memphis District Golf Classic. Recipients must also attend the September reception when the scholarship is awarded. 


The deadline for the application is

 Friday, August 25, 2023, 5:00 p.m.

Applications received after that will not be considered.


Download Application

bottom of page